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Change the Way You Collaborate

April 10, 2015

Have you ever wanted to have a Team Space with your suppliers or customers? Wished you had one place to have track discussions, share folders and documents securely? Mazree's new Collaboration Rooms make all of that possible.
 
Collaboration Rooms are easy to create and invite people from both inside and outside of Mazree.  Within that room you can live chat, create folders, and share documents easily and securely!

 
HOW TO CREATE A ROOM 
 
Create your own Collaboration Room in a few easy steps. Log in to Mazree and follow these instructions:
 
1. Hover over "Rooms" in the header and click on "My Rooms"
2. Click on "Create a Room"
3. Complete the information and starting adding members to your room.

Go into Mazree and start changing the way you collaborate.

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Outsourced Logistics: The Choice for Big and Small Brands Alike

April 07, 2015

At first glance, outsourcing logistics to some brings a variety of risks, expenses, and even negative connotations to mind. In the public mind it has become associated with sending jobs overseas, creating greater levels of complexity to manage, and introducing new prices to a supply chain. As a result, conventionally only larger companies with well-defined and widely sought after core competencies on one end of the spectrum or companies too small to effectively manage their own supply chains would outsource their logistics management. Yet in recent years utilizing a third-party logistics service, or 3PL, has become an increasingly viable option for big brands and small brands alike.

Target has become a key example of the push towards outsourced logistics. After a tumultuous series of financial train wrecks like the expansion into Canada and the resultant $5.4 billion loss as well as the massive data breach of thousands of American shoppers’ financial information, Target now turns to outsourced logistics in the hopes that this push among others may contribute to a strategic turnaround that Target needs to continue as a globally recognized industry leader.

According to Supply Chain 24/7[1], Target plans to “save $2 billion over the next two years as part of its efforts to grow and increase profitability, with savings coming through operations, technology and process improvements; supply chain and sourcing efficiencies and restructuring”[2]. Target has of course outsourced a portion of their logistics since 1997, yet are now focused on streamlining their supply chain and sourcing methods by developing new mobile and online sales channels, focusing on four key markets; wellness, kids, baby and style to meet demand and competencies, and user-centric capabilities focused on product lines based on local demographics and needs. By investing “$1 billion in technology and supply chain”[3] Target will be able to focus on the aforementioned areas of core competency while utilizing a greater extent of outsourced logistics to streamline their functions and ultimately drive an increase in revenues.

As outlined in Supply Chain 24/7[4], some of the main reasons business already proficient in supply chain are turning to 3PLs include:

  • Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Capital Investment
  • Improved Service Levels

The reasons driving this increasingly popular focus on outsourcing center around the fact that “the reality is that some of the biggest companies in North America—those big enough to handle supply chain logistics internally—choose supply chain outsourcing. The partners are allowed to do what they each do best, and collectively it drives value in the supply chain”[5]. This reflects the core economic theory of specialization applied to a supply chain. Even though it introduces new risks, increase complexity of management, and involves paying another party to facilitate an avenue of your business; outsourced logistics is frequently the solution as 3PLs reach new levels of efficiency and provide better services for the companies that choose to utilize them acknowledging their network and core competency often allow significant savings for the companies that choose to use them.

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Expanding your Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

April 01, 2015

Supplier Relationship Management   

Developing an effective Supplier Relationship Management system is far more extensive than any software program and a key tool for supply management professionals is to really talk to their stakeholders and suppliers and encourage them to become involved more deeply in the business. The stakeholder becomes aware of the value and importance of developing essential mutually beneficial relationships where each party has something to gain when their partner succeeds. Communicating and educating your stakeholders is essential and ought to be followed as a principle with your suppliers. Proactively seeking ways to educate your stakeholders and suppliers helps probe key problems, improve methodologies, and align expectations and efforts throughout a supply chain.      

Determining which suppliers are invested enough to enter into a partnership and share risks with your company will help your business gain speed and continue on in the path of partnership. Performance Based Contracts in particular help ensure that business relationships with a selected supplier are well understood and allow greater alignment of goals. Various frameworks exist that allow effective Supplier Relationship Management, but whichever is used it is important to leave communication channels open, remain flexible, and adapt as is most beneficial for both the supplier and your company. Some commonly reported issues surrounding Supplier Relationship Management include;

SRM key issues

(1) Relationships between individual buyers and sellers instead of companies (longevity)

(2) Over reliance on existing contracts

(3) Failure to identify value creating alternatives

(4) Lack of substantial relationship management tools

Solutions

In order to combat these and other issues surrounding Supplier Relationship Management, new approaches to SRM must be adopted.

(1) Contracts should be frequently reevaluated regarding their validity in the current market and respective situations of suppliers and buyers.

(2) Supplier databases and contact methods should be updated to replace the pen and paper, cold calling, business card practices that have dominated SRM for so long.

(3) Tools for collaboration, bidding, and keeping suppliers fully up to date ought to be utilized.

(4) Relationships between each organization ought to be put first so collaborative and alliance relationships can be developed even if it requires greater investment or flexibility in the short run.

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